I use a lot of words, captions and quotations in my work, so I’m always on the hunt for a clever way to present them. I own an endless assortment of alphabet stamps, but seriously, after a while, stamping directly on paper gets boring. One day, I grabbed some Forster’s Woodsies—little wood bits in various shapes—and gave them a whirl. I liked the result so much that I started looking for other wood items to stamp on.


This week, I used square Woodsies and popsicle sticks in an altered book layout. I colored both with Colorbox Chalk inkpads—I cannot live without these, in an assortment of colors. I use them to age and tint all sorts of stuff. Once the chalk inks dried, I stamped letters on both the wood squares and the sticks with black dye ink, gave them a little blast with my heat gun—not because they needed it, but because I was in a hurry for them to dry. The Woodsies glue on with white glue or E6000. I usually drill my popsicle sticks on either end with a small drill bit, and shoot a brad through them to hold them in place. They can also be sewn in place with a single hole in each end, or just glued down if you can’t be bothered with all that fuss.

At left, the cover of an altered book from earlier this year. I really wanted the look of old game pieces, but real Scrabble tiles didn’t do it for me. I used small square Woodsies stamped with black dye ink. They were thin enough that I could use them in niche cut into the cover of the book without any protective covering.

At right, the cover of a tag deco. I used a wood tag—they’re made by Lara’s, I think, and sold at most Michaels stores. I stained the tag with a little walnut ink, and then stamped grasses, butterfly and text all in black ink. In person, it’s hard to tell if this is stamped or woodburned until you run your fingers over it.

OK, there’s no stamping here—but there could have been. I aged some cheap bristle brushes from Home Depot with walnut ink and chalk inks, and then glued them to the cover of my book. There’s plenty of room for stamping, don’t you think? How cool would it be to use a paintbrush as the stick for one of these books, and then stamp a caption on it?

One more idea, with no picture yet: I have a huge box of oak veneer leftover from a home improvement project gone wrong. Every once in a while, I tear off a piece of it, age it with ink, and toss it under the table with my rolls of paper, thinking eventually, I’ll use it for something. This week, I thought they might make some cool ATCs—oak veneer ATCs!

OK, one more: this weekend, I bought a big package of colored popsicle sticks at Dollar Tree. All sorts of really bright colors, ready to drill and stamp. Go get some and see what you come up with.